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Brawn: Ferrari badly needs a win

NEWS STORY
06/08/2019

While Mattia Binotto admits that it was the track characteristics that left Ferrari on the back foot in Hungary, it was his use of the word "suffering" that captured one's attention.

For while the red cars were third and fourth, both were over a minute behind the race winner, and from Saturday afternoon onwards it was clear that neither Sebastian Vettel or Charles Leclerc would be in a position to cause Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen any concern.

The struggles of the Italian team, on a day Verstappen eclipsed the official lap record held by Michael Schumacher since his final title-winning season, was particularly hard to swallow for Ross Brawn, team boss during the Maranello outfit's last golden era.

"One knew from the track characteristics that this race would not suit the car," said the Briton, "but not to the extent we saw, especially in the race.

"The times from the third sector, where you need maximum downforce, speak volumes," he added, "as the car was so far off the pace of the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

"The summer break has probably come at just the right time because I'm well aware of how the pressure can build on Ferrari when things aren't going well. It won't do any harm to take a breather and recharge the batteries. Then, once the racing starts again, the aero requirements of Spa and Monza could put Vettel and Leclerc right in the fight again considering the aero efficiency of their cars.

"Ferrari badly needs a win," he admits, "not so much for their championship aspirations, but as a morale booster, to prove that it has the potential to be a championship contender, an obligation it has always been under."

As for the race, the F1 MD, said: "Lewis Hamilton had to fight like the champion he is. He produced a final stint lapping at almost qualifying pace, slicing through back markers, and making up almost 20 seconds in just 18 laps to catch and pass Max Verstappen with ease.

"Earlier, the two men fought a thrilling duel that went in the Dutchman's favour. It's true Max's tyres were shot towards the end, but Mercedes had the benefit of seeing first-hand what the hard tyres could do, thanks to a long stint from Valtteri Bottas.

"It seemed odd to be calling Hamilton in when his tyres seemed in good enough shape to keep pushing but it turned out to be a masterstroke. Mercedes therefore deserve credit for taking a risk on strategy when they could have gone the more obvious route and then wait for the race to evolve.

"Of course, given Mercedes' huge lead in both classifications, they can afford to take risks, but the Silver Arrows produced a thrilling race from start to finish, proving that Formula 1 is not just a battle between drivers but it is also an amazing team sport. Driver and team are mutually dependent.

"Max and Red Bull also produced a great performance," he continued. "The Dutchman took his first ever pole on Saturday, putting in a series of incredibly quick laps. And in the race he did all he could to try and make it three wins from the last four Grands Prix. He didn't quite manage it, but that was down to what Mercedes and Hamilton did rather than what he and Red Bull did not do.

"In Hungary, the Milton Keynes squad proved it had the second most potent package, with Honda showing it has made real progress in terms of power and speed.

"Max has scored more points (81) than any other driver from the last four races. That's 18 more than Hamilton and also almost twice that of the Ferrari duo who are on 45 each. It's also well over twice Bottas' total.

"Beating Lewis for the title seems out of reach, but second place is now more likely for Verstappen and that would be something special."

Adopting full PR mode, mindful of the sport's powers-that-be's efforts to level the playing field, Brawn expressed dismay at the "vast chasm in performance" between Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and the rest.

"I've said it so often, but this gap must be reduced," he said, forgetting that he had no such qualms when running the Ferrari, Honda or Mercedes programmes. "It remains one of our main objectives for the future as, alongside the FIA, we continued to work on the 2021 regulations. It's an ambitious goal, and it won't happen overnight as we do not have a magic wand, but it has to be our central ambition, achieved via the three main areas of the rules: technical, sporting and financial.

"It's a key theme for the future of this sport and I think we are all in agreement on this, starting with the fans, whom we must listen to, because, at the end of the day, they are our most important asset."

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1. Posted by Stitch431, 07/08/2019 11:27

"Regardless of his previous positions, Brawn has made the right statements here and he knows better than anyone else what is needed to get there. Perhaps even because of his previous positions."

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